WIMBLEDON’S ban on players from Russia and Belarus looks to be over with the All England Club about to make a U-turn for this year’s UK-based Slam.

Last year, as we know, Russian Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, along with many others, were banned from competing at the tournament in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Wimbledon and other British grasscourt events had their ranking points removed and the LTA was fined £1.4million by the ATP and WTA Tours.

There is not expected to be a statement until next month, but the All England Club said last week: “We are continuing to work very closely with the UK Government and stakeholders in tennis on this matter. We have not yet made a decision on entries for the championships 2023.”

And British tennis royalty Andy Murray said in California last week he was anticipating Wimbledon’s change of position.

“It’s a really difficult one and I do feel for the players who weren’t able to play last year,” he told the BBC.

Daniil Medvedev in fourth round action against Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in 2021. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos

“But I also understand the situation and why it’s really hard for Wimbledon to make a call on it as well.

“My understanding is that they are going to be allowed to play and I’m not going to be going nuts if that is the case.

“But if Wimbledon went down another route, I would be understanding of that.”

Despite the ban. Being lifted, it is expected Russian and Belarusian players will have to compete as neutral athletes and refrain from any political statements about the war.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina remains a staunch critic of any attempts to lift the ban.

Elina Svitolina remains a critic of the return of Russian and Belrusian players. Photo: Darren Carroll/USTA

Svitolina visited her home country recently and was shocked by the damage.

And she remains a critic as British tennis has come under increased pressure to lift the ban.

‘It’s not supposed to be like this in my opinion, what Wimbledon did last year (banning players from Russia and Belarus) was the right decision.” She said.

“If that has been changed this year it’s very sad because the war is still terrible, the Russian army is still killing a lot of innocent people. It is not fair play.”

FORMER Wimbledon favourite Boris Becker is in trouble again, this time after appearing in a TV advert for a German window company.

The advertisement features Becker arriving at a posh villa in a Porsche and tossing banknotes out of the windows of the building. The commercial, which is for a German window firm called Fensterversand.

Becker’s involvement – after his much-publicised fraud case and subsequent jail sentence has seen creditors calling for action.

“Let’s hope he will use some of the money he is getting for this commercial to pay back the creditors he owes,” wrote one creditor last week.

Despite the criticism, Becker insisted the advert was a light-hearted take on his own financial troubles.

He argued that money was important to him, and that viewers should not throw their money out of the window.

“Money is and was important to me but the advert is of course satire and self irony,” he said.

“It was important to me to make fun of myself and to recommend to the younger generation they do not imitate me.

“Not throwing money out of the window is something we should all think about and that’s why I thought it was an exciting idea and accepted the offer.”

STILL with Wimbledon as a theme, the BBC has confirmed Clare Balding as the new lead presenter for Wimbledon, taking over from Sue Barker after her retirement last year.

Balding has been Barker’s No.2 for many years. She first appeared on the Wimbledon production in 1995.

“It’s a huge honour to be given this responsibility,” Balding said.

HARD Rock Stadium has introduced new fast-dry courts for the main event in. Miami later this month to combat any tropical downpour that have in the past delayed matches.

Here’s a visual of the build over the last two months…

FLORIDA Governor Ron DeSantis has bizarrely offered an alternative mode of entry for Novak Djokovic to play the Miami Masters later this month.

“I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him. I would do that 100 per cent,” DeSantis said last week.

“I think his people are looking at it, and I’m not sure that’s the way they want to come into the country, which I understand.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis is a prominent faces of the US Republican Party and has long criticised Joe Biden for his policies – one of which will keep Djokovic from playing Miami. Djokovic most likely won’t play in Miami.

“The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami Open tennis tournament is President Biden’s misguided and unscientific COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreigner travellers,” DeSantis said.

FORMER player and current TV analyst Patrick McEnroe will be the new president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

USTA Foundation chief executive Dan Faber is to become the new CEO.

Todd Martin resigned as CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame last October after nearly a decade in the job.

McEnroe, the younger brother of John McEnroe, won the 1989 French Open men’s doubles title and was a singles semifinalist at the 1991 Australian Open.

Former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters was named the Hall’s honorary president, an ambassadorial role, last year.

Patrick McEnroe, centre, is the new president of the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Jessica Pegula in action at the Australian Open in January. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

AND finally … The world’s richest tennis star took on a lingerie model – and won at Indian Wells.

Jessica Pegula, who has a net worth of something in the region of £5.5 billion, overcame the challenge of Italian Camila Giorgi.

Pegula has pursued a career in the sport since a young age – despite being set up for life thanks to dad Terry, owner of the NFL Buffalo Bills, who has earned billions through natural gas development.

Giorgi works as a lingerie model when she’s not on court, and has an Instagram following of nearly 700k.


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